“… he freely owned that he had no talent for whist, and that he didn’t know a knight from a castle upon the chess-board. Indeed, Mr. Talboys was by no means too learned a gentleman.” (Braddon 34)
In this description, George Talboys is not at all ashamed of his lack of higher education and status. In fact, he even goes on to laugh at and mock the woman he was speaking with on the ship at her interest in things like poetry and fashion. He finds them to be silly and of no real use. Diving deeper into the psychology of Mr. Talboys, this seeming resentment towards anyone and anything that could resemble higher status could stem from the resentment he has towards his own father. Since he had married a woman of a lower status than he, George’s father had discontinued his allowance that he had been given for many years. This had set them up for poverty later on, which is the reason he had to be away from his wife for over three years in the first place.
The abandonment of his father in his life, the later loss of his wife while away, and the lack of relationship between him and his son has resulted in Mr. Talboys’ struggle with intense psychological issues. Depression, for example, has been expressed in numerous ways throughout the book so far. It stated how George will often skip meals if not reminded and often has “gloomy fits” (Braddon 85). What seems like typical despair of a heartbreak then would quickly be classified as depression in today’s society. His passive attitude and often yearning for solitude may also help explain why he left Robert without a word so easily that day while fishing.